It was another successful sports equipment drive on Saturday morning at the Pepsi Center Rav4 parking lot.
Nearly 20,000 new and gently used items and almost $15,000 in cash donations were collected at the fourth annual giveSPORTS Equipment Drive, presented by IHOP and KeyBank.
The initial drive was held in the summer of 2012 after Jessica (Redfield) Ghawi, a former broadcast journalism intern with Altitude Sports & Entertainment, lost her life in the Aurora Theater tragedy. Prior to her death, Jessica had expressed a desire to host a sports equipment drive for the children and families that had lost everything to that summer's devastating Colorado wildfires.
Kroenke Sports Charities and A Precious Child created the giveSPORTS Equipment Drive in partnership with Jessica’s family to help realize her dream and provide underprivileged children with the opportunity to play sports through the giveSPORTS program. Additionally, giveSPORTS provides scholarships to cover the costs of registration and other sports-related fees.
Among the people that came out to donate and volunteer this past weekend was Colorado Avalanche forward Matt Duchene, the Ram Truck Avalanche Ice Girls, mascot Bernie, members of the Denver Nuggets and Altitude TV talent. Sandy Phillips, Ghawi's mother, and her husband Lonnie were also there to help out and thank people for their support.
"I think it is a great event for KSE to be involved in," Duchene said. "Obviously, it is a sports organization so having an equipment drive makes sense. I think it is a great thing to kick off the year, our season and the Nuggets' season."
Some of the sports items collected included gear for hockey, baseball, softball, basketball, boxing, golf, football, lacrosse, roller hockey, roller skating/blading, soccer, tennis and volleyball. Participating KeyBank and IHOP locations also collected items in the weeks leading up to the event.
All equipment will be donated to A Precious Child – a local non-profit that works with more than 150 community organizations to find children in need to receive the equipment. Overall, the giveSPORTS Equipment Drive has collected more than 80,000 pieces of equipment and nearly $40,000 in cash donation in its four years of existence.
A Precious Child will continue to accept items. More information can be found at www.apreciouschild.org.